The Eifel GP of 2020 fallen into the records of the recent F1 history as one of the coldest, with the air temperature not exceeding 8C and the track temperature at around 17C. The race turned to be a hard task for drivers regarding the tyre temperatures, as many struggled to maintain it during the race start and prolonged safety car towards the end and yellow flag periods. Drivers such as Lewis Hamilton asked about the safety car coming in to prevent the tyre temperatures getting any lower, with Max Verstappen making a similar request as the Mercedes driver.
The cars of the team based in Brackley, UK have benefitted from their DAS (dual-axis steering) system assisting with the tyre warm-up, an innovation already present during the winter testing. But, as said by the team principal of Mercedes F1 Toto Wolff the DAS has not been a “game changer” when it came to making sure Hamilton did not suffer from the tyre warming issues just as the rest of the grid during Eifel GP.
As Wolff said: "You can see that the Red Bulls, Max particularly, were very good in sector one. So their warm-up and whatever they did was better than ours, but over a lap obviously we gained the time back. The DAS helped a little bit. It's not the game-changer, the silver bullet like everybody believes. But it is a good tool to keep a little bit more heat in the front.”
Hamilton, who won his 91st GP that weekend and equaled the legendary result of Michael Schumacher, revealed after the race that he struggled to keep a consistent gap between him and Verstappen on 2nd after each of his pit stops due to the cold conditions at the track.
As he said: "The race was incredibly difficult with conditions being so cold, the restarts. The tyres were not working for me, particularly when I came out after the pit stops. I had a good gap to [Max] but then [he] nearly had me, [he was] catching me and I was struggling so much on the newer tyres. Then we got the safety car. I don't know why it goes so slow, but maybe it's because everyone has got to catch up, whatever it was.”
It was later confirmed by Michael Masi, the FIA race director that the safety car was kept for so long indeed to let the lapped cars unlap themselves.